How to Test for STDs: Best Window Period, Types of STDs, their Symptoms and Treatment

How to test for STDs - STDTestGuru

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are highly common in the US and around the world. Testing for STDs can be quite embarrassing if you had not visited a lab before or to take this issue to your physician. However, with today’s internet-connected economy, you can test for STDs sitting from your home and get online doctor consultation if your test returns positive.

What are STDs?

STDs are a type of disease that transmit from one person to another via sexual contact. Oral and anal sex will also include, as they are contagious as regular sex as some have a myth that oral and anal sex is safer and cannot transmit any diseases. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1 million cases of STDs are being recorded each day around the world. The actual number is expected to be quite higher as some people are not getting tested and diagnosed due to the unavailability of the testing options and healthcare coverage.

How to test for STDs?

Testing for STDs can be done in two ways –

  1. Visit a nearby lab
  2. Order an at-home STD testing kit

Visiting a nearby lab is the most common and old-school way of testing for diseases and infections. You shall be asked to provide your blood sample and fill out a form providing your personal detail to report the test back. This can expose your identity while getting tested in the lab when a family person or friend walks in at the same time.

Ordering an at-home testing kit is way more convenient and private than the former one. You can choose what STD you want to get tested for and the company sends you the package with all the required equipment and you are to ship back the sample in the container. Results will be mailed to your email address. If you are tested positive, some companies even offer free online doctor consultation.

What is the right time (window period)to test for STDs?

Initial symptoms of STDs can appear in different periods of time – commonly said “window period” to detect the symptoms –

  1. Chlamydia: 7 to 21 days
  2. Gonorrhea: 2 to 30 days
  3. Syphilis: 10 to 90 days
  4. Herpes: 2 to 20 days
  5. HPV: 1 to 8 months
  6. HIV: 14 to 45 days

Thus, there is no exact right time to get tested. If you are sexually active, it is highly recommended to get screened for STDs at least once every 6 months. As the signs take longer than regular diseases, it may be difficult to know who was the primary spreader of the infection. Leaving STDs untreated or waiting for the signs to disappear on their own can lead to more health complications in the long run such as infertility, HIV/AIDS, and neurological disorders.

Symptoms of STDs

Infections like allergies and other common diseases like flu show symptoms immediately after you get in contact with the pathogen or bacteria. Signs and symptoms of STDs do not show as soon as you get infected. This makes the disease play low-key and spread to other partners in people who are sexually active having more than one sex partner. Sexually active people act as a carrier in transmitting the disease even without their knowledge. After a few days or weeks, depending on what type of STD you have acquired the symptoms tend to show up. Following are the commonly known symptoms for STDs reported in men and women –

STDs that cannot be cured

Symptoms of STDs in women

  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain during urination
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

Symptoms of STDs in men

  • Thick penile discharge
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Swelling and pain in the testicles
  • Itching in the anus
  • Irritation in the penis
  • Painful bowel movements

Can STDs be cured?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are highly contagious and the symptoms can appear way later from the actual infection date making it more difficult to detect and diagnose the stage of the infection. STDs are a unique type of infection where not a single pathogen causes the disease but multiple types are prevalent.

STDs that cannot be cured have viruses as their causing agent. HIV, Herpes, and HPV are some of the STDs that are cannot be cured to date. That is if you acquire the infection, you are to live with it forever. However, there are anti-retroviral medications that can control the virus from spreading further and reduce the symptoms.

Bacteria and other pathogens caused by STDs can be cured with the help of antibiotics. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are some of the types of bacteria-caused STDs.

Thus, it is important to get screened for STDs if you had been sexually active and to avoid sex with strangers, and not to engage with sex with anyone other than your marital partner at all costs.

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